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Callista Gingrich

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Callista Gingrich
United States Ambassador to the Holy See
In office
December 22, 2017 – January 20, 2021
PresidentDonald Trump
Preceded byKen Hackett
Succeeded byJoe Donnelly
Personal details
Born (1966-03-04) March 4, 1966 (age 58)
Whitehall, Wisconsin, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
(m. 2000)
EducationLuther College (BA)
WebsiteGingrich 360

Callista Louise Gingrich (née Bisek;[1] March 4, 1966) is an American businesswoman, author, documentary film producer and former diplomat who served as United States Ambassador to the Holy See from 2017 to 2021. She currently serves as President and Chief Executive Officer of Gingrich 360, a multimedia production and consulting company based in Arlington, Virginia and is married to former House Speaker and 2012 Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich.[2][3]

Early life[edit]

Callista Louise Bisek, known as "Cally Lou" to her family,[4] was born to Alphonse Emil Bisek and Bernita (Krause) Bisek, in Whitehall, Wisconsin.[1] Her father worked in a packing plant and her mother was a secretary.[4] She has Polish and Swiss ancestry.[5][6][7] She graduated as valedictorian from Whitehall Memorial High School in 1984.[8] A music student from childhood, Callista attended Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, majoring in music and becoming a member of Pi Kappa Lambda. She graduated cum laude in 1988.[9]


Gingrich meeting with President Donald Trump, 24 October 2017

In 1988, just out of college, Gingrich accepted an internship in Washington, D.C., in the office of Republican Congressman Steve Gunderson.[4] At the end of the internship she joined Gunderson's congressional staff[4] where she worked until 1995. In 1995, she moved to the House Committee on Agriculture where she worked as chief clerk until 2007.[4][10][11]

Multimedia productions[edit]

Gingrich arrived in Rome on November 6, 2017, for the ambassadorship.

After leaving the House Committee on Agriculture in 2007, Gingrich served as president of Gingrich Productions, a multimedia production company which she founded with her husband.[12] They produce historical and public policy documentary films, publish books and newsletters, and make speeches, television, and radio appearances.[2]

Together, they hosted nine documentaries, including The First American, Divine Mercy: The Canonization of John Paul II, A City Upon A Hill, America at Risk, Nine Days that Changed the World, Ronald Reagan: Rendezvous with Destiny, Rediscovering God in America, Rediscovering God in America II: Our Heritage, and We Have the Power.[13] The films have sold several thousand copies.[12]

Gingrich authored seven children's books featuring Ellis the Elephant,[4] including Sweet Land of Liberty, about American exceptionalism, and Land of the Pilgrims' Pride, about colonial America. Both were on The New York Times Best Seller list of Children's Picture Books.[14][15] Yankee Doodle Dandy, about the American Revolution, was released in 2013.[16] From Sea to Shining Sea, about the expedition of Lewis and Clark and the early years of the United States, was released in October 2014.[17] Christmas in America, about the history of Christmas in the United States, was released in October 2015.[18] Hail to the Chief, about United States presidents, was released in October 2016.[19] Remember the Ladies, about United States first ladies, was released in October 2017.[20]

Gingrich co-authored Rediscovering God in America with her husband, Newt Gingrich.[21] She also co-authored a photobook, Ronald Reagan: Rendezvous with Destiny, with Newt Gingrich and Dave Bossie.[22] Gingrich is the voice for several of her husband's audiobooks.[10]


President Donald Trump nominated Gingrich to be the United States Ambassador to the Holy See in May 2017, and the United States Senate confirmed the nomination on October 16, 2017.[23][24] On December 22, 2017, Gingrich presented her credentials to Pope Francis and officially assumed the duties of United States Ambassador to the Holy See.[25] She was the 11th U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See since formal relations were established in 1984 under President Ronald Reagan.[26]

Gingrich assumed the role of Ambassador after several instances of high-profile criticism of Donald Trump and his policies by Pope Francis and his allies.[27][28] During her tenure, Gingrich focused on advancing areas of common ground between Washington and the Vatican,[29] including defending religious freedom[30] and combatting human trafficking.[31] In June 2018, Gingrich helped return a letter written by Christopher Columbus that had been stolen from the Vatican Archives.[32] She also highlighted the role of women religious on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic and in conflict zones[33] and helped Samaritan's Purse bring an emergency field hospital, doctors and nurses to an area of northern Italy hit hard by COVID-19.[29]

Awards and honors[edit]

In February 2018, Gingrich was awarded an honorary doctorate from the Ave Maria School of Law.[34]

In June 2020, Gingrich was appointed Dame Grand Cross of the Order of Pius IX by Pope Francis, the highest distinction conferred by the Holy See on laypersons, in recognition of her contributions to the Church and society.[29]

In 2023, she received a Luther College Distinguished Service Award for admirable service to society.[35]

And in 2024, she received the Ellis Island Medal of Honor for distinguished service.[36]

2012 Republican primaries[edit]

Callista Gingrich speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Maryland

As part of her husband's bid to become the Republican nominee in the 2012 presidential election, Gingrich often appeared by his side at rallies. In early 2012, Gingrich began to take a more active role in the campaign, and undertook her first campaign speaking appearances without her husband.[37] On February 10, she appeared at the Conservative Political Action Conference, giving an introduction to her husband prior to his speech.[38][39] In addition, she supported his campaign through speaking appearances at Republican women's groups,[40][41] meetings of Gingrich supporters,[42] and various rallies.[43]

Other activities[edit]

Gingrich serves as president of the Gingrich Foundation.[44] She also serves as a Member of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception Board of Trustees, a Member of the Ave Maria School of Law Board of Governors, a Member of the Richard Nixon Foundation Board of Directors, and a Member of the Ave Maria Mutual Funds Catholic Advisory Board.[2][45]

Personal life[edit]

Callista Bisek met Newt Gingrich in 1993 when he was House Minority Whip and she was working in the office of Congressman Steve Gunderson.[46] Callista testified in 1999 as part of Gingrich's divorce proceedings that the couple began a six-year affair in 1993 while Newt was married to his second wife, Marianne.[47][48] Newt divorced Marianne in December 1999, and on August 18, 2000, Callista and Newt were married in a private ceremony in Alexandria, Virginia.[3] In 2002, Newt Gingrich asked the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta to annul his 19-year marriage to Marianne on the basis that she had been previously married.[49] Callista, a lifelong Catholic, was instrumental in her husband's conversion to that faith in 2009.[50] The Gingriches live in McLean, Virginia.[4]

See also[edit]

Conservatism portal


  1. ^ a b Buffalo County Biographical History: Celebrating 150 Years, 1853–2003 from Google Books
  2. ^ a b c "Ambassador Callista L. Gingrich".
  3. ^ a b "National News Briefs; Gingrich Is Married in Alexandria Ceremony". The New York Times. August 20, 2000. Retrieved August 14, 2010.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Levy, Ariel (January 23, 2012). "The Good Wife". The New Yorker. Retrieved January 28, 2012.
  5. ^ "Catholic Advocate | Newt's Catholicism". Archived from the original on October 29, 2013. Retrieved October 27, 2013.
  6. ^ "A Look at 'Nine Days That Changed the World'". Fox News. April 13, 2010.
  7. ^ Kaczynski, Andrew. "Newt Gingrich's Communications Director Polished Callista's Wikipedia Page 23 Times". BuzzFeed News.
  8. ^ Whitehall Times, May 16, 1984
  9. ^ "Certificates of Competency for Nominees to Be Chief of Mission". United States Department of State. May 2017. Archived from the original on June 6, 2017.
  10. ^ a b Mark Benjamin (November 24, 2011). "With Newt Back in the Spotlight, Callista Gingrich Follows". Time.com. Retrieved January 26, 2012.
  11. ^ Callista Louise Gingrich, Congressional Staffer – Salary Data at legistorm.com. Retrieved February 7, 2012.
  12. ^ a b Kristina Cooke and Marcus Stern (December 7, 2011). "Special report: Callista Gingrich – The ultimate running mate". Reuters. Retrieved December 12, 2012.
  13. ^ "Callista Gingrich". IMDb. Retrieved December 12, 2012.
  14. ^ "Children's Picture Books - Best Sellers - Books - Oct. 30, 2011 - The New York Times". The New York Times – via NYTimes.com.
  15. ^ "Children's Picture Books - Best Sellers - Books - Dec. 2, 2012 - The New York Times". The New York Times – via NYTimes.com.
  16. ^ Nikki Schwab (October 15, 2013). "Callista Gingrich's 'Ellis the Elephant' Turns 3". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved October 17, 2013.
  17. ^ Judy Kurtz (October 15, 2014). "Callista Gingrich: My kids' books aren't political". The Hill. Retrieved October 23, 2014.
  18. ^ Kemberlee Kaye (December 23, 2015). "Callista Gingrich Chats With Us About Her New Book Christmas in America". Legal Insurrection.
  19. ^ "Newt, Callista Gingrich on 'Treason', 'Hail to the Chief'". FoxNews.com. October 11, 2016.
  20. ^ Gingrich, Callista (2017). Remember the Ladies. Regnery Publishing. ISBN 9781621574804.
  21. ^ "Callista Gingrich to be nominated as ambassador to the vatican, White House says". CBS News. May 19, 2017.
  22. ^ "Newt Gingrich and Callista Gingrich honor the legacy of President Ronald Reagan with Ronald Reagan: Rendezvous with Destiny" (Press release). PRWEB. February 3, 2011. Retrieved February 3, 2011.
  23. ^ Gjelten, Tom (May 20, 2017). "Callista Gingrich Nominated As Ambassador To The Vatican". npr.org. NPR. Retrieved May 21, 2017.
  24. ^ "Callista Gingrich Ambassador to Vatican nomination".
  25. ^ "Callista Gingrich Becomes Trump's Envoy As Differences Mount". reuters.com. Reuters. December 22, 2017.
  26. ^ "Callista Gingrich likely to be named ambassador to Vatican". ABC News. May 15, 2017.
  27. ^ "Donald Trump's Christianity questioned by Pope Francis". BBC News. February 18, 2016.
  28. ^ "Pope Francis' allies accuses US Catholics of forming an 'alliance of hate' to back Trump". Independent. August 3, 2017.
  29. ^ a b c John L. Allen Jr. (January 16, 2021). "As Callista Gingrich departs, she's the new "COAT" in US/Vatican ties". Crux.
  30. ^ "Gingrich: 'Securing' religious liberty top priority for U.S., Vatican". The Dialog. July 26, 2018.
  31. ^ "Vatican Ambassador Callista Gingrich Has Farewell Meeting with Pope Francis". Independent. January 16, 2021.
  32. ^ "The journey of a stolen Christopher Columbus letter recounting his voyage to the Americas". Washington Post. June 15, 2018.
  33. ^ "Women religious honored for work on pandemic's front lines". Our Sunday Visitor. June 23, 2020.
  34. ^ "Dean's Newsletter February 2018". Ave Maria School of Law. February 28, 2018. Archived from the original on December 20, 2021.
  35. ^ "Luther College announces 2023 Distinguished Service Award recipients". Luther College. October 9, 2023.
  36. ^ "Announcing the 2024 Ellis Island Medal of Honor recipients". Retrieved May 28, 2024.
  37. ^ Callista Gingrich makes her debut as a solo campaigner Archived February 22, 2012, at the Wayback Machine Atlanta Journal Constitution, February 15, 2012
  38. ^ CPAC: Callista Gingrich makes rare speaking appearance CBS News, February 10, 2012
  39. ^ Callista Gingrich talks up Newt at CPAC The Washington Post, February 11, 2012
  40. ^ Callista Gingrich tests herself in public speaking role The Washington Post, February 14, 2012
  41. ^ Newt Gingrich courts Tennessee voters Politico, February 27, 2012
  42. ^ Callista Gingrich Rallies Newt's Supporters Patch.com, February 18, 2012
  43. ^ At Everett rally, Newt Gingrich says his energy policies would push gas down to $2.50 a gallon The Herald (Everett, Washington), February 25, 2012
  44. ^ "Directory of Endowed Scholarships: Music". Luther College. 2012. Archived from the original on July 2, 2012. Retrieved January 1, 2012.
  45. ^ "Callista Gingrich Joins Ave Maria Mutual Funds Catholic Advisory Board". Retrieved June 13, 2024.
  46. ^ Jones, Meg (March 11, 2012). "Callista Gingrich still has ties to Whitehall" Archived March 3, 2016, at the Wayback Machine Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (m.jsonline.com). Retrieved March 16, 2012.
  47. ^ "Gingrich Friend Dates Affair To '93". Chicago Tribune. November 11, 1999. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  48. ^ Barron, James; David Rohde; Adam Nagourney (May 4, 2000). "PUBLIC LIVES". The New York Times. p. 2. Retrieved January 31, 2012.
  49. ^ "Newt Gingrich Requests Annulment in Atlanta". The Free Lance-Star. Associated Press. May 12, 2002. p. D4. Retrieved February 7, 2012.
  50. ^ Sullivan, Amy (August 24, 2009). "Why Newt Gingrich Converted to Catholicism". Time. Archived from the original on August 17, 2009. Retrieved October 10, 2010.

External links[edit]

Diplomatic posts
Preceded by United States Ambassador to the Holy See
Succeeded by
Patrick Connell
Chargé d'Affaires